Giants: Gold Glove finalists announced, Buster Posey snubbed
By Joel Reuter
On Thursday, the three finalists for Rawlings Gold Glove honors at each position in the AL and NL were announced, and the San Francisco Giants were snubbed entirely.
Should we be surprised that no San Francisco Giants player was named a finalist for top defensive honors?
It’s a fair question, and one worth diving into on the heels of the annual announcement of the Gold Glove finalists.
Here’s a look at the full position-by-position breakdown of NL finalists:
On the very broad spectrum that is the FanGraphs team defense metric, the Giants finished as the 10th-best defensive team in baseball and the 7th-best defensive squad in the NL.
Here are the NL teams that were ranked ahead of the Giants and the number of Gold Glove finalists they have:
- Brewers: 1
- Phillies: 3
- Braves: 2
- Padres: 2
- Dodgers: 1
- Diamondbacks: 4
What does that tell us?
Among other things, it tells us that there’s not necessarily a strong correlation between having a good team defense and having Gold Glove finalist defenders.
Still, there were some individual players on the San Francisco Giants roster that are at least in the conversation. Most notably, catcher Buster Posey.
So let’s take a look at how he stacks up to the finalists at the catcher position
The Finalist: Austin Hedges (SD), Yadier Molina (STL), J.T. Realmuto (PHI)
From 2008 to 2015, Yadier Molina was the only catcher in the National League to win a Gold Glove.
Posey finally broke through to win one in 2016 and Tucker Barnhart of the Cincinnati Reds took home the trophy in 2017, but it was Molina again in 2018.
Will he make it an even 10 for his career with another win this season?
Perhaps, but the question we’re asking here is whether Posey deserved to be one of the three finalists.
Let’s take a look at how his defensive metrics compared to the three who were chosen, using Innings Caught (INN), Defensive Runs Saved (DRS), Framing (FRM), Caught Stealing Percentage (CS%) and Defensive Value (DEF):
- Realmuto: 1,139.1 INN, 11 DRS, 8.0 FRM, 47 CS%, 27.8 DEF
- Molina: 939.1 INN, 2 DRS, 1.8 FRM, 27 CS%, 8.9 DEF
- Hedges: 813.0 INN, 22 DRS, 20.7 FRM, 33 CS%, 27.6 DEF
- Posey: 846.1 INN, 14 DRS, 9.6 FRM, 32 CS%, 18.8 DEF
As far as the winner is concerned, this is pretty clearly a two-horse race between Realmuto and Hedges, with the other two well behind them by all accounts.
However, by all the above measurables, besides reputation and innings caught, Posey has a better case to be the third finalist.
It’s a petty complaint, but in a trying season offensively, it would have been nice to see Posey rewarded for his contributions on the defensive side of things. At the very least, the San Francisco Giants would have had a representative when the Gold Glove finalists were unveiled on Thursday.